Last week was among the toughest in UCF history. President Whittaker’s departure was shocking and painful for our university and the Central Florida community.
In these difficult times, I believe we are best served by focusing on the values that bring us together.
In my career, I have learned there is no greater gift than working with people who share a commitment to making a difference. Big ideas inspire us. Making those ideas reality is what changes lives. And working alongside passionate, dedicated people is what life is all about.
UCF is a place where all of this and more is possible.
Understandably, there are many questions about what happens next. The Board of Trustees is actively searching for a long-term interim president.
Once approved by our board and the Florida Board of Governors, which oversees the state’s public universities, that interim president will take over until the selection of a new president. That timeline is still being determined.
Until the long-term interim president takes office, my job is to ensure the UCF mission and your work continue unabated. We have jobs to do, and I know I can count on our amazing students, faculty and staff to make that happen.
Core to our mission is our academic enterprise. The leadership of Provost Elizabeth Dooley and our deans has never been more crucial. I am here to support them and our entire team in furthering our academic excellence and student success.
After a 30-year career in business and not-for-profit leadership, I came to UCF in 2015 to help lead our Collective Impact Strategic Plan process and later to oversee UCF Downtown. Like so many of you, I believe in the power of education to transform lives, drive innovation and lift up entire regions.
UCF is a place that expands opportunity, thinks boldly and unleashes incredible talent. And I remain convinced our best years are ahead.
In the moment, though, change can be difficult. So I encourage you to take care of yourselves, and to take care of each other. Last week was tough, but UCF is tougher.
What makes this university extraordinary is how we consistently find a way to overcome obstacles and move forward.
We will be a better institution. We will thrive. We will … Charge On.
Thad Seymour, Jr., PhD
Vice President for Partnerships and Chief Innovation Officer